Report: People around NBA believe Nikola Jovic could be surprise weapon for Miami Heat in playoffs

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Rich Storry-USA TODAY Sports

Miami Heat youngster Nikola Jovic has had limited opportunities this season, but he has had some bright moments.

He has evidently shown enough to convince some people around the NBA that he could get minutes as a surprise weapon in the playoffs.

“Some around the league believe Jovic could garner more minutes down the stretch run and maybe even as a surprise weapon in the playoffs,” wrote Sean Deveney of Heavy Sports.

Jovic has only appeared in 22 games, but 14 of those appearances have been starts. He’s had some big performances, including a recent 24-point showing against the Milwaukee Bucks.

Overall this season, he’s averaging 6.0 points, 4.2 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game while shooting 43.0 percent from the field and 45.5 percent from beyond the arc. He’s averaging 16.5 minutes per contest.

A couple of executives around the NBA made some very interesting comments to Heavy Sports about Jovic.

“It is not like teams put out a list and say, ‘OK, here’s who is untouchable and here is touchable,’” an Eastern Conference executive said. “That’s not how it works. But anyone who asked about Jovic, it was a pretty firm no. They have never been looking to move him. He has been a near-touchable, at least.”

Jovic, 20, is in his second NBA season.

“They could change their roster going forward, but what you’ve got to understand is, if they do, they’re going to change with him moving up in the rotation, not him moving out,” a Western Conference executive said. “Ask around, anyone who has asked about including Nikola Jovic in any kind of deals, there’s never been any real talk involving him.

“I don’t know when. I am sure the kid would like to know when, his people want to know when. But eventually, he is going to be a starter for them and a good one.”

It certainly sounds like the Heat may have a long-term piece in Jovic despite the fact that he’s frequently involved in trade buzz. After all, Miami spent a first-round pick on him for a reason, and the team is likely still getting a feel for what he brings to the table. Jovic has appeared in just 37 regular season games in his NBA career.

If he were to emerge as a surprise weapon in the playoffs, the Heat would likely be thrilled. The organization sometimes gets contributions from unlikely heroes during its playoff runs, and Jovic could become the next one.

He did get into seven playoff games last season, but his playing time was so limited that he’s likely still unaware of how the postseason can be a different animal. Perhaps that won’t be the case for much longer.

The Heat are 30-25 this season and currently hold the No. 7 spot in the Eastern Conference. They’ll look to move up in the standings after the All-Star break in hopes of avoiding the play-in tournament.

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Jason has covered the NBA for multiple years and has plenty of memories involving the Miami Heat. He expects there will be winning basketball in South Florida for years to come.